Graduate School in Montana | MT Graduate Programs

Graduate School in Montana means expansive prairies and badlands as far as the eye can see. Rugged mountains and virgin wilderness. The Lewis and Clark Trail, the Continental Divide, and Native American culture.

This is Montana – Big Sky Country. In this massive state, you’re in the warm confines of Mother Nature – a museum of breathtaking beauty, best showcased in Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks. Even in cities like Billings, Missoula, and Great Falls, you’ll discover a relaxed vibe with understated riches. It’s an inspiring place, for sure.

The endless natural surroundings – from Rocky Mountain peaks and trout-filled streams to thriving cultural communities and awe-inspiring national parks – and an inspiring selection of campus settings make Montana a relaxed space to attend grad school. Amid this pastoral ambiance, grad students can pursue a number a different degrees in private, public, and tribal universities.

Despite the small size of its cities – Billings is the only city that exceeds a population of 100,000 – Montana’s urban areas are rich with culture. Art galleries, craft breweries, rodeos, summer festivals, and outdoor activities inside and outside the city limits ensure communities with stimulating treasures.

Fun Fact

Montana is the only state in the United States from which waters flow to the Gulf of Mexico, the Pacific Ocean, and the Hudson Bay.

Living and Learning in Montana

Montana is expansive, with wide open spaces connecting towns along the interstates of I-90 and I-94 that weave across the state. A welcoming, small town vibe emanates throughout the state with people who fully embrace the naturea beauty surrounding them. The pace is truly relaxed, throughout. Geographically, the Continental Divide separates the state – the west is the Rocky Mountains, while the east is prairie and plains.

Generally, summers are short – July and August are the warmest months – while winters tend to be fairly cold. Typically, the west sees more rain and snow than the drier areas in the east. Montana’s main airport gateway is Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport but other airports in Billings, Great Falls, and Missoula also service national and regional destinations. Amtrak and state services handle railroad passengers, while Greyhound and other bus services travel throughout the state. A car is essential.

National Parks & Outdoor Pleasures

Do you love the outdoors? Breathtaking natural scenery – rugged mountains, cascading waterfalls, pristine alpine lakes, raging rivers, lush forests? Montana is all that and more. Think hiking, biking, rock climbing, whitewater rafting, tubing, golfing, canoeing, fishing, wildlife viewing, horseback riding, skiing, and more. Trek the glaciers at Glacier National Park, take in the rugged alpine beauty at Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area, or explore the rocky pinnacles, sublime forests, windswept prairies, and icy caves of Big Snowy Mountains.  

Eating & Drinking, Cowboy Style

More than just a comfort food getaway – what with all the outdoor adventures – Montana actually offers quite an eclectic menu of cuisine. In the cities, you can find Mexican eateries, steakhouses, sushi restaurants, and down-home diners. In the rural communities, the selection is slimmer but still mouthwatering. What you will find everywhere is the state’s tasty cowboy fare – hearty cowboy beans, steaks, buffalo chili, and Indian fry-bread. In summer, check the farmer’s markets for fresh huckleberry pie and Flathead cherries. Beer lovers can indulge in the many craft breweries peppered in the cities throughout the state.

Big Sky Culture

Underneath the endless Montana Big Sky is a vibrant culture – rich in Western history, Rocky Mountain inspired art, and a divine appreciation for Montana’s outdoor treasures. In the cities you can find a small but gem-like collection of museums including The Western Heritage Center and the Yellowstone Art Museum in Billings; the C.M. Russell Museum and the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Interpretive Center in Great Falls; and the Missoula Art Museum in Missoula.

Things To Do: Summer is filled with festivals and rodeos throughout the state, while winter abounds with snowy activities. Although no major sports teams represent Montana, the state hosts a number of minor league teams and Olympic competitions.

Major Montana Industries

Students going to grad school in Montana can pursue a variety of post-graduate opportunities including those health and medicine, business, science, engineering, and education industries.

Top 7 Occupations in Montana

Requiring a Post-Secondary Degree

Professions with the highest employment in Montana

Whether you need help deciding what degree to pursue, or just want to get a feel for
professions with the highest employment in Montana , the table below should be helpful.

  • Registered Nurses
  • General and Operations Managers
  • Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education
  • Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education
  • Accountants and Auditors
  • Business Operations Specialists, All Other
  • Lawyers

These results were reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For more information see the OES May 2017 State Data Report.

City Living

Students going to grad school will find plenty to absorb in these relaxed urban centers. Outdoor activities and scenery surrounds you if every community plus you’ll get a healthy dose of a thriving arts community, Native American culture, sports, microbrews, and hearty cowboy eats and culture. These cities offer the best of Montana urban culture.

  • Billings
  • Great Falls
  • Missoula
  • Bozeman


Straddling the banks of the Yellowstone River in southern Montana, Billings is the largest city in Montana and home to three of the state’s most prestigious universities, including Montana State University. It’s also the gateway to Yellowstone National Park, which one can reach by taking the Beartooth Highway, a 68-mile drive through stunning panoramic natural scenery.

The city itself showcases its cultural side with a vibrant arts community, a full calendar of events, and fine museums. Wander through history at the Western Heritage Center, see the collection of local contemporary art at the Yellowstone Art Museum, or drive outside of town to marvel at the rock paintings at the Pictograph Cave State Park. During the warmer months, the city rolls out an eclectic event calendar: Wine & Food Festival, Alive After 5 concerts, Great American Championship Motorcycle Hill Climb, Magic City Blues Festival, and more.

Beer lovers will find the walkable downtown peppered with craft breweries as well as a plethora of restaurants and shops. Outside the city, indulge in such outdoor adventures as rock climbing, skiing, mountain climbing, hiking, and more.

Great Falls

Named for the nearby series of five waterfalls on the upper Missouri River, Great Falls quietly simmers with mix of historical attractions, university culture, outdoor recreation, and a whole lot of bars and barbeque. Cultural highlights include the Paris Gibson Square Museum (a showcase for contemporary art), the American West images at the C.M. Russell Museum, and the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Interpretive Center.

If you want to connect with the outdoors, check out the Giant Springs State Park, First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park, or Giant Springs State Park. The natural wonders doesn’t stop there – drive a few hours and take in the breathtaking glacier-carved valleys, cascading waterfalls, and serene alpine lakes of Glacier National Park or go on a camping/hiking trip to the Highwood Mountains.


Set in the Rocky Mountains and home to the University of Montana, Missoula personifies eclectic, liberal vibe of a university town. It’s in the people – a colorful mix of a artists, entrepreneurs, cowboys, hippies, students, and more.

Make no mistake – this town relishes its outdoor recreation. Thus, you’ll find plenty of opportunities for hiking, rafting, rock climbing, skiing, fishing, golfing, and more. Hike the Kim William Trail, which follows the scenic Clark Fork River that flows through town. Climb the scenic trail up Mount Sentinel for panoramic views of the city and mountains.

Cultural attractions include the historic downtown center, including a historic railroad station; the Missoula Art Museum, which features a superb collection of Western Art; and First Fridays, when you can wander though local art galleries. Summer events include music and food festivals and Caras Park, Farmer’s Markets, and the Western Montana Fair.


A stunning, picturesque city with mountains on three sides, Bozeman is the gateway city to Yellowstone National Park. Movie fans may recognize its spectacular scenery from the movies A River Runs Through It and The Horse Whisperer. The city and its environs has also been an inspiration for many writers including John Steinbeck.

The nearby mountains provide ample outdoor recreational opportunities – hiking, fishing, rock climbing, mountain biking, and so much more. In town, check out the contemporary art at the Altitude Gallery, sift through the massive collection of artifacts at the Museum of the Rockies, or see the bronze sculptures at the Planet Bronze Art Gallery.

The Sweet Pea Festival, held each year in August, offers a hearty selection of music, dance, theater, comedy, food, and art exhibitions.

Fun Fact

Montana is the home of the largest grizzly bear population in the lower 48 states. Grrrrr!


Popular Graduate Programs in Montana

Looking for the perfect graduate school in Montana? You may find one that suits your area of study and even one that has an environment that fits your lifestyle. The following are a few highlights:

For those who want to go to grad school in Montana, you can find opportunities in the cities of Billings, Great Falls, and Missoula. Montana State University and the University of Montana has a number of universities for you to study at; you may also choose to study at tribal colleges or private colleges. Here are some of the top graduate programs in Montana.

4 Choices for Education Graduate Programs

The Master of Education in Literacy at Lesley University targets current teachers in a K-8 classroom with coursework in math, science, writing, and literacy as well as such interactive practices as assessment and culture and climate of the classroom.

At Montana State University – Bozeman, the graduate program in Educational Leadership is designed to prepare school leaders in elementary and secondary administration (principals).

The master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Montana focuses on a coursework that includes elementary, secondary, special education, literacy, technology, and curricular studies.

At Montana State University – Billings, the graduate program in Curriculum & Instruction K-12 Teacher Licensure seeks to help students develop the knowledge, skills, and dispositions that will enable them to become effective and successful educators.

4 Choices for Business Graduate Programs

The master’s degree in Professional Accountancy at Montana State University – Bozeman is designed to prepare students for professional careers in public accounting, including meeting the 150 semester-hour requirement for certification as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in Montana.

At Carroll College, the Master of Accountancy graduate program provides students with the strong ethical foundation and globally informed knowledge and skills necessary for today's dynamic professional environment.

The Master of Business Administration degree offered by The University of Montana enables students to complete all degree requirements in evenings and on weekends in a program that is suited to the requirements of managers and self-employed professionals from diverse career fields.

At Montana Tech, the online graduate program in Project Engineering and Management is designed to give working professionals an opportunity to enhance their technical and managerial skills with minimum disruption to their workday.

4 Choices for Health & Medicine Graduate Programs

The Toxicology master’s program at the University of Montana – Missoula brings together researchers whose work will lead to new or better treatments, improved assessment of the actual risks caused by exposure to environmental agents, and more effective methods to detect and reduce the adverse health impacts.

At Montana State University – Bozeman, the Nursing Administration and Nursing Education Students graduate program provides students with the opportunity to elect an area of concentration in teaching and/or administration.

Montana Tech’s online Industrial Hygiene Master’s degree program provides state-of-the-art training in qualitative and quantitative assessment of chemical, physical, ergonomics, radiological, and biological hazards in the workplace as well as health effects and related issues.

The Master of Nursing graduate degree program at Montana State University can be accessed through interactive video and on-site clinical supervision in Billings, Bozeman, Missoula, Great Falls, and Kalispell, Montana.

4 Choices for Math, Science, and Engineering Graduate Programs

The Geosciences/Geophysical Engineering graduate program at Montana Tech seeks graduate students who have a background in physics, geology, computer science or related engineering fields for a variety of research projects including geophysics for archaeological applications.

At Montana State University – Bozeman, the master’s program in Mathematics, Mathematics Education, Statistics provides students with unique opportunities for innovative instruction and for unusual and challenging problems arising from cooperative research.

A master’s degree in Environmental Studies at University of Montana – Missoula offers specialized training in environmental justice; environmental policy; environmental writing; globalization; land, water and wildlife conservation; and more.

The graduate program in Entomology and Montana State University – Bozeman focuses on insect pests of agricultural importance, biological control of insects and weeds, integrated pest management and basic studies in ecology, physiology, behavior and evolution.

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